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A Pictorial Guide to Paleontology (in 5 volumes) - Pterosaurs
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Price: US$ 55.00
A Pictorial Guide to Paleontology (in 5 volumes) - Pterosaurs
Language:  Chinese and English bilingual
Author:  Yang Yang & Zhao Chuang
Pub. Date:  2014-01 Weight:  1.7 kg ISBN:  9787535778291
Format:  Hardcover Pages:  280
Subject:  Paleontology > Vertebrate
Series:  A Pictorial Guide to Paleontology Size:  292 x 216 mm
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A Pictorial Guide to Paleontology - Pterosaurs, Skeletal and reconstructions of some pterosaurs
1. What is the Pterosauria?
The Pterosauria is a group of flying reptiles, and is also the first group of fying vertebrates. Its name means “winged lizards”. The Pterosauria belongs to the Archosauria within the Sauropsida, and is more closely related to the Dinosauria and Crocodylia.
Pterosaurs have peculiar looks. Their wings are constituted by patagia (flight membranes) that consist of “skin” (i.e., wing-fibers), muscles, and other soft tissues. The wide patagia extend from the sides of body to the extremely long fourth fingers. The current evidence indicates that many pterosaurs had “hair” (or“pycnofibres”) on their skins.
Most of the early pterosaurs had long tails and completely toothed jaws whereas the later pterosaurs had much shorter tails and many of them had no teeth.
The Pterosauria spanned from the Late Triassic to Late Cretaceous, living almost throughout the entire Mesozoic. They were truly the rulers of the Mesozoic skies.
In the long course of its evolution, some members of the Pterosauria became gigantic with a wing span over 10 meters wide, almost the size of a small airplane. However, this does not mean all pterosaurs were so huge.
In fact, among 120 known pterosaur genera, only 4% of them are with a wing span over 10 meters whereas 37% of them have a wing span less than 1.5 meters. In other words, most pterosaurs are not so big, generally with a wing span between 1.5 and 4 meters .

2. Classification of the Pterosauria
Although there are many species in the Pterosauria, its classification is relatively clearer compared to that of dinosaurs. The Pterosauria is currently divided into two major groups: the Rhamphorhynchoidea and Pterodactyloidea.
The Rhamphorhynchoidea are the more primitive forms of the Pterosauria, and l ived from the Late Triassic to the Late Jurassic. They have toothed jaws, a long tail, and most of them have no crest on the head. They nclude the Dimorphodontidae, Anurognathidae, Campylognathoididae, and Rhamphorhynchidae.
The Pterodactyloidea are more advanced, and first appeared in the Middle Jurassic and lived throughout the Late Cretaceous. With shorter tail, many of them have no teeth, and there are obvious crests on the head. They can be divided into the following superfamilies: the Arehaeopterodaetyloidea, and the Dsungaripteroidea.These two superfamilies are further divided into many families.
In addition to these two suborders, i .e. , the Rhamphorhynchoidea and Pterodactyloidea, there is a peculiar family, the Wukongopteridae, whose systematic position is not yet clear. The Wukongopteridae shares some characters with both the Rhamphorhynchoidea and Pterodactyloidea. This has led some paleontologists to consider that the Wukongopteridae may represent transitional forms between the Rhamphorhynchoidea and Pterodactyloidea, and thus should not be put into either of the two suborders.

3. Characteristics of the Pterosauria
The Pterosauria has a unique set of skeletal structures, which enable them to have powerful fying capacities. To better understand the Pterosauria, we must have a firm grasp of their skele
 






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